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I am currently working on a project where we stream (legal) MP3 files to users, and users can upload MP3s. I plugged the site into the Rackspace Cloud Files product. We want to make the site free for users, so we'll have to cover the bandwidth and storage cost.

What is troubling me is the math on growth and how it affects our cost. Storage is pretty cheap, and MP3 files are small, so I have no concerns there. I am concerned with the bandwidth costs. Again, the files are small, but there will be a lot of streaming. This is my math.

1 user listens to 10 MP3 files a day at an average file size of 6MB = 60MB per day = 420MB per week = 1,820MB per month.

If we have 10,000 users, that comes to 17.36TB per month (17773.44GB). The cost for bandwidth at Rackspace will be $1,982.14 per month. This is assuming all users listen to only 10 songs a day. When the user count goes up, it gets worse. If users listen to more than 10 MP3s, say they listen for a few hours a day, then the cost goes way up from here.

If my math is correct on needed bandwidth, how do other companies do this? I realize YouTube(Google) and NetFlix have their own infrastructure, but there are so many other smaller sites that stream long video files that are much larger than our little MP3 files. How can they afford this? Is there another solution out there for the little guy to allow large bandwidth at an affordable price?

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Ron Beyer 21-Nov-13 11:37am
Advertising. You need to figure out a way to play ads between every 3-4 MP3's and make revenue that way.

1 solution

I'm not a big cloud user, but I do run dedicated servers through iWeb. One of the main reasons that I haven't adopted cloud computing is the cost.

For $89 you can get a dedicated server with 20TB of bandwidth.
For $150 you can get a Xeon E3 with 8GB RAM, 1TB disk in RAID1, and unmetered bandwidth.
For $899 you can get a badass Xeon dual E5, 256GB RAM, 1TB disk in RAID1, 256MB SSD in RAID1 and an unmetered connection.

So for less than $1000/mo you can get one or more dedicated servers and have then manage them.

Disclosure: I have no interest in iWeb, I'm only a customer.
Motley Drew 21-Nov-13 20:19pm
Can a dedicated server handle the requests from 10,000 users at a time?
Yvan Rodrigues 23-Nov-13 11:35am
In theory a 100Mb/s connection could support about 5333 users listening at 192kb/s. Reality would probably be less. A server with a gigabit connection may be able to handle 10,000 users.

In the real world, I would use at least 4 servers. 2 redundant servers to host the user interface web site, and 2 redundant servers to serve the music feeds. This could be done for less than $500 if you were managing your own servers.

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